Disclaimer: Little Miss Sunshine has left the laptop, and Sardonic Psycho Writer Chick has commandeered
the keyboard. Just wanted to let you know you can stop reading now…or proceed at your own risk.
I am a writer. It’s after 10 p.m., and I have an interview scheduled for a story first thing in the morning. On one hand, I’m pumped. I get to do what I live to do—interview a musician and write about it. For me it doesn’t get any better than that.
So what’s the problem?
I’m exhausted. I’m stressed. I really need to finish my research to prepare my interview questions, but all I can do is click on Facebook and play Zuma Blitz. Over. And over. And over again.
Playing the game requires no thought, no real focus. I can zone out and think about my life with no repercussions. If I lose, I just hit “play again.” When all my chances are up, I just have to wait a while, and they’ll be refreshed again.
I want to write, but life and stress and conflict have sucked all the creativity out of me. Writing should be fun, exhilarating, a rush? Right? That’s what wannabe writers think. I’ve had umpteen conversations with them, and they all go something like this:
“I need to supplement my income. It can’t be that hard. I’ll just write some articles about this or that, and then a magazine will pay me. Right? Maybe I’ll just write a book.”
Have you ever tried writing a book?
Taken any workshops? Submitted anything to the local paper?
“No. You have to pay to go to those. I’m trying to make money. And the local papers won’t pay anything. They expect me to write it for free. Psssh. I’m not doing that.”
No, dear wannabe writer friend, being a real writer is not what you think it is. I earned my degree in English. I have my master’s in journalism. I’ve taught hundreds of students how to write. I’ve advised the number one newspaper in the state. I can quote pretty much rule in the Little Brown Handbook. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about the craft of writing, and I’m already booking my fall workshops. I have done and will do whatever it takes to make it as a “real writer.”
But do you REALLY think all you have to do is write and they’ll buy it?
I write every day of the week, but I still haven’t seen my dreams come true. And what paychecks I do get from my writing don’t come close to covering what I pay to feed my dreams. It’s kind of like the amazingly talented musician who shells out more in gas money than what he earns from the tip jar just so he can play a gig. If he doesn’t play, a little part of him dies. I get it. Writers are like that too.
Wannabe writer friend, if you want to write, forget about doing it for the money. That’s not what it’s about—not until you pay your dues. Nobody owes you anything. Writing IS the payoff, the gift. A paycheck is just an added bonus.
I’m doing an awful lot of whining and complaining tonight. Sometimes I work 12 hours a day to support my family, and then I come home and work on my writing, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not even close to paying my dues. But I wonder, “Isn’t it my turn yet?”
I’m quickly reminded that no matter how hard I struggle with the problems in my life as I try to write, I still have more to learn. Rather than complaining, I should count my blessings. There is always someone tougher than I am who hasn’t had his or her breaks yet either. There will always be someone equally or more deserving than I am.
I challenge you to take a moment to check out the blog of a very special writer who is waiting for her break, in more ways than one.
The mother of four precious little girls, Krista Phillips spends a majority of her time caring for baby Annabelle, who spent approximately the first eight months of her life in the hospital. But now baby Annabelle must go back because there’s the possibility that her body is rejecting her recent heart transplant.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for Krista to care for her family and still hang on to her writing dreams. I admire her so much.
We all want something. Whether or not we want to admit it, there are times we all think we deserve it. But we aren’t entitled to anything, not even life. Life is God’s gift to us. He has his own reasons for granting or
denying prayer requests.
God gives us free will. Sometimes we can make things happen, and other times the best we can do is just pray like crazy that he will make things work out—even when we don’t see a way.
The clock nears midnight. I’m afraid if I don’t get my work done by then I’ll turn into a pumpkin—or, worse, oversleep my interview.
I hear Zuma Blitz calling me. A couple of games should breathe new life into me, keep me awake. Right?
But then again, I hear my guitar beckoning. Oh, what a wonderful friend it has been to me in the last six months, opening doors and dreams I thought might be shut forever. It has breathed new life into me and made me remember who I am. I need to work on a song. Maybe I should do that first.
Ah, there goes the Romantic in me again–and the procrastinator.
Better the Romantic procrastinator than the cynical writer who wrote the first paragraphs of this blog.
Writing is so easy